Starsteps Performing Company
Many Company photos by Melissa Wiant
Thank you for inquiring about the Starsteps Intensive Dancer Program. The Mission of the Starsteps Performing Company is to provide more opportunities for learning and performance. Performing Company dancers will be expected to attend more classes, conquer challenging choreography, and participate in many performance opportunities.
Please read the following to determine with the SDC Performing Company is for you and your dancer.
FOR THE DANCER
The first step to becoming a successful dancer is making a solid commitment to your classes, rehearsals, and performances. Strong technique is a key ingredient and class is where you develop that technique. Come to each class prepared to learn and without personal distractions. Class time is your chance to focus on yourself, so try to leave your concerns or worries at the studio door. True progress is made when you look at each class, rehearsal, or performance as an opportunity to become better at what you love to do. Dance full-out, stretch a little further, become more aware of your technique, and make the most of every class.
The Intensive Dancer program is a privilege that dancers and their parents must appreciate and respect. Participation in the program is restricted to dancers who are ready to make achieving their personal best a priority. There will be times when classes, rehearsals, or performances will be scheduled when your non-dance friends or family may be headed to the mall or the movies.
We encourage dancers to be as dedicated to their academic studies as they are to their dance training. If your participation in this program affects your grades or the expectations and goals set by your parents, we cannot allow you to continue in the program.
Reasons why this program might not be a good fit for you:
You’re involved in extracurricular activities that could interfere with your class, rehearsal, or performance commitments.
You’re doing it because you want to keep up with your friends, but you are not passionate about dance nor the commitment.
You’re doing it because your parent(s) want you to.
You’re primarily focused on winning awards.
You’re not fully committed to attending all classes and rehearsals.
Only a small percentage of the dancers in our Intensive Program will move on to professional dance careers; therefore, the program focuses on educating young people to strive for their personal best in anything they want to accomplish. We achieve our goals for the program by offering young people the chance to:
gain a sense of balance in life by managing their commitments to both dance and academics;
participate in a physical activity that enhances understanding of the value of a healthy body;
develop a sense of confidence when speaking or making a presentation in a public setting, which is also a great benefit in college or job interviews;
work with mentors who are focused on the students’ success inside and outside of the classroom;
enjoy friendships that could last a lifetime and a sense of belonging to an extended family of fellow dancers, teachers, and parents;
discover the results of hard work and determination; and
develop a lifelong appreciation for the performing arts.
In addition, making a commitment to the policies set forth in this handbook teaches our young people that there are boundaries that must be respected in order to succeed in the program.
FOR THE PARENTS:
“WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER”
We believe that children’s success depends on the support of their parents or guardians. Because your commitment to the process makes an enormous difference, we encourage you to be a part of your child’s dance education.
Our programs rely on a positive atmosphere and educational experience for our faculty and students and their parents. Cooperation between all parents is expected. Showing respect—for other parents, the students, and the faculty—makes an important impression on the children. You are a role model for your child about how to interact with others in a professional setting.
Your child’s presence at all classes is imperative. The spirit of teamwork and the lesson of dedication are a big part of our school’s educational process.
Parents and teachers may look at a child’s learning from different perspectives. However, we believe they share a common goal: to ensure that every child receives the best possible training, both physically and mentally. Mutual respect among our faculty and our students’ parents provides the children with the ultimate care and education.
Understanding Dance Education
As a parent, you play an important role in supporting your child financially, but your emotional support is of equal—and perhaps even greater—value. Encourage your child to be the best that he or she can be regardless of what others may achieve. Dance is an individual art form and children need to be allowed to achieve at a pace that’s comfortable. No two students will progress at the same rate, even if they experience the exact same training. It’s important to encourage children to focus on themselves, give their all, and be satisfied with their own accomplishments.
Dance education encompasses far more than technique and the steps your children learn. We believe the discipline of dance training gives young people a better understanding of commitment through learning, experiencing the spirit of teamwork, and discovering what they can accomplish through hard work. Our goal is to educate the minds, bodies, and souls of our students, teaching them the skills needed for a successful life, whether or not they stay involved in dance.
Ø You play an important role in supporting your child financially, but your emotional support is of equal—and perhaps even greater—value.
Dos and Don’ts
Some parents may compare their child’s progress or class placement to another child’s. Watch for this behavior in your children as well and encourage them to focus instead on their own accomplishments.
Looking to other students for inspiration is good; however, making negative comparisons distracts children from focusing on becoming stronger dancers. In addition, speaking negatively about your child’s teachers, fellow students, or other parents in front of your child––or other students––could result in problems far beyond your original concerns. Often children will imitate a parent’s behavior with other adults or authority figures
Children learn important lessons from their teachers and parents, acquiring behavior patterns through their example. Our school’s faculty takes that responsibility seriously. It’s our philosophy to encourage our students to feel, think, and act respectfully toward their peers, the adults in their lives, and themselves.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s dance education (such as progress or class placement), please discuss them with your child’s teacher or the director. Talking only to other parents can lead to misinformation and confusion. Please contact the school office to set up an appointment; do not approach your child’s teacher or the director between or during classes or make contact outside of the school.
If you do request a conference, please listen carefully to what your child’s teachers have to say. They spend a significant amount of time with your child and offer expertise in the field of dance education.
Class or Choreography Placement
The school faculty meets regularly to discuss the students’ progress and/or placement. It is our policy to offer appropriate opportunities to every child.
Placement decisions are derived from many years of teaching experience. Often a child is placed in a particular group or class where he or she will feel confident, in order to promote the development of self-esteem. Some dancers who are placed in a higher level become discouraged, only to lose their passion for dance. Others respond to the challenge of being in a class with dancers who are more proficient by pushing themselves to work harder. Placement is highly individual and the factors that go into the decision are complex.
The director and/or faculty are available to discuss class and choreography placement with parents and dancers. Please feel free to request an appointment with the office and a meeting will be scheduled. It is our policy to meet with each student and his or her parents at the same time unless otherwise specified.
We ask that parents refrain from discussing class placement issues with other parents or questioning the faculty between classes.
Ø Class placement of students is highly individual and the factors that go into the decision are complex.
All dancers are expected to attend their regularly scheduled classes in addition to all rehearsals and performances. No more than five class days per season may be missed. Any team member with poor attendance will be dismissed from the program.
Dancers will receive a class schedule in August. The program includes ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hiphop and gala, as well as one acrobatic session. Team members may also be expected to participate in additional classes, including master classes. There may be an additional charge for some master classes.
All dancers must show respect for their teachers at all times. Inappropriate behavior could result in dismissal from the program.
All rehearsals are dedicated to choreography or “cleaning” the choreography. A dancer who misses a rehearsal holds back the progress of the entire group. Repeating the choreography from a previous session for those who were absent takes up valuable rehearsal time, which could result in a performance that is not up to par. When we clean choreography, we may also change it. Dancers who miss a cleaning session may not be properly prepared for an upcoming performance and could end up disappointing themselves, their team, or the school.
An important lesson taught through our Intensive Dancer program is the value of teamwork. Dancers who miss a rehearsal because of a non-emergency circumstance are letting their fellow dancers down in many ways. We expect parents to nurture the values that dance education teaches; therefore, you should never encourage your child to let the group down.
If parents have a conflict that prevents them from taking their children to a scheduled rehearsal, we will be more than happy to arrange transportation with other parents from the same group. Our goal is to help all children make their commitments.
Ø Dancers: True progress is made when you look at each class, rehearsal, or performance as an opportunity to become better at what you love to do.
Rehearsal Schedules and Information
Additional rehearsals may be scheduled at the discretion of the teacher/choreographer. All dancers are required to participate.
No Intensive program dancer may miss more than three unexcused rehearsals during the season. A season starts in August and ends after the Recital in May 2016. There will be no exceptions to this rule. Dancers who need to be excused are required to notify the school 24 hours before the scheduled rehearsal. Any dancer excused from a rehearsal is responsible for learning any missed choreography before arriving for the next rehearsal.
Ø We expect all dancers to be on their best behavior during rehearsals and work as team players at all times.
Respect for the school, its teachers, and its choreographers is essential.
The teachers and choreographers selected to work with our Intensive program dancers are among the finest and most experienced available. They are selected because of their professionalism and knowledge of what is technically and emotionally right for the dancers.
Guidelines for behavior:
Leave any personal negativity at the door when entering the studio.
Arrive at least 10 minutes before the start of every class or rehearsal.
Proper dancewear and shoes are a must in every class and rehearsal.
Choreography must never be questioned.
Never attempt to contact teachers or choreographers at home. All contact must be made through the school office.
Finish every class or choreography session with a thank-you to the teacher or choreographer.
When wearing your school jacket or other apparel to non-dance events, be sure that the activities and your behavior reflect positively on you and the school.
Appreciate the Critique
Listen to each correction given, whether it’s directed to you or another dancer. A correction is an honor; it shows you how much a teacher cares about your progress as a dancer. Always say thank you when a teacher or choreographer offers you constructive criticism. Nothing can stop those students who apply themselves in every class and appreciate their teachers’ knowledge and experience.
Prospective dancers will attend a week long camp to prepare for auditions. The dancers will learn routines to perform in front of judges at auditions on Friday. Along with the camp, dancers and parents will be asked to fill out an application and answer a few questions regarding their interest in the SDC Performing Company. Applications are available at the front desk of the studio.
Team placement is based on scores from auditions. Placement is always based on what would most benefit the dancer and help them grow.
Only dancers who are willing to participate on whichever team they are placed should apply!
Congrats to the 2019-2020 Starsteps Performing Company
Please make sure to check your email today for information regarding rehearsal and parent/dance meeting!
LET"S GET READY TO DANCE!
© All rights reserved
Starsteps Dance Center